Ig may not be the most decent person in the world anymore, but after a drunken night he wakes up with actual devilish horns growing out of his head.
Ig is going through a grieving process a year after the murder and rape of his long time girlfriend. A murder and rape that everyone believes he committed, which, honestly, would ruin anyone’s life. However, now he has horns, so, not only does he feel bad as it is but now it seems there is clear evidence that so much is wrong.
There is a bigger problem here, too. These horns seem to bring out the worst in people. People not only want to do bad things when they see Ig, but they are telling him all their disgusting, dirty secrets… it’s really horrible.
I do recommend this book if your in the mood for some dark and twisty horror!
Joe Hill’s collection of short stories range from disturbing, to clever, to the slightly romantic. There are 15 stories (16 if you include the story hidden in the acknowledgments). There is one story that is barely 2 pages long, (which was one of my favorites) some that are around 20 pages and the last story in the book is about 50 pages. In other words, there is variety here. And it ranges from the grisly for hardcore horror fans to the delicate for those who *may* have more refined taste.
Something that equally was enjoyable for me and irritating was how Hill would just end some stories. They would end suddenly, leaving me wondering what happened in the final act. In some, most really, this created a strange dissonance for me and my feelings for simply wondering what happened. It really created a fear in the unknown.
Two of the stories really stood out to me. The last, Voluntary Committal, and the third, Pop Art. Pop Art made me feel sentimental about the plight of youth, especially young boys and the way children interact. It was about a young boy that was basically a balloon, an inflated body of plastic and elastic. And a strange friendship between him and a boy that thought of himself as the tough kid but it turned out he really needed this friendship. This was not a scary story, not in the general sense of what counts as scary. Rather it was a unique way to look at the way we treat those with differences in this harsh world. I loved it.
Voluntary Committal was the longest story and also the most intriguing. Another look at youth centered around male siblings and a friend that is not entirely wanted. This story was very creepy. Hill has a way of taking a child’s game and turning it into something real… with real consequences. And that is scary, to me at least. It’s also incredibly insightful and clever.
I highly recommend this to anyone interested in a variety of spooky stories. Also if you want to get to know Joe Hill. I feel like some of these stories really reflect some of his other work, particularly NOS4A2.
“Already though, she understood the difference between being a child and being an adult. The difference is when someone says he can keep the bad things away, a child believes him.”
-Joe Hill, NOS4A2
A fun ride through the “inverse” of Vic, the Brat’s, imagination. Yes, it is quite disturbing and I feel very lucky that I survived my childhood without a trip to Christmasland with Charlie Manx.
Vic grows up with imperfect parents and at a young age she figures out a way to go “finding”. She jumps on her oversized Raleigh bicycle and takes her first trip through the Shorter Way covered bridge. This bridge that was recently destroyed, now only exists in her imagination and she rides through her “inverse” to the exact site of the missing object she is looking for, even if it is hundreds of miles away.
Over the years, Vic learns that she is not the only one that can travel the inverse. She finds a spunky librarian that learns secrets from scrabble tiles who reveals to her the story of The Wraith. The Wraith is the vehicle, a Rolls Royce, of Charlie Manx who abducts children and parents to go to Christmasland. And trust me, no matter how much you like Christmas, you do not want to go to Christmasland!
This is a very creepy story and it’s only made creepier by the freaky illustrations scattered throughout the pages. I will admit I had fun reading it! It was a definite page-turning adventure.
I highly recommend this for a creepy Halloween read and give it 5 out of 5 stars.